re we not going to sleep together?”


Of course not.

I couldn’t sleep if we did.


“Do you think you are qualified?”


Reia slapped her thigh.


“If we slept together, my current power wouldn’t be able to oppose yours and I’d die.
It’s something like that, isn’t it.”

“Good that you get it.
That’s exactly right.”


The truth was that I’d be the one to die.

I had absolutely no experience with women.[note]I mean, that fact was kinda obvious already…[/note] Just living together with a real, living woman was my limit.

I laid down straw on both of our sides, enough to be used as two separate beds.
A huge wave of drowsiness hit me right as I finished tucking myself in.

I was really tired.

I still couldn’t tell if the entire day was a dream; maybe my life would go back to normal once I woke up. 

I quietly fell asleep wishing for a peaceful life.


The sound of something being shaved off woke me up the next day.

Only a few specks of dawn’s light entered the cave.
I rubbed my eyes, looking at what was making that noise so early in the morning.

Potatoes, cut to pitiful sizes, were stacked up in a mountainous pile.


“Good morning, Takumi.”


Reia eloquently greeted my as she peeled potatoes with her dagger.

My precious stockpile for the upcoming winter had all but disappeared.


“R-Rei, this…”

“Yes, my excitement for being your disciple eclipsed my need for sleep, so I’ve been following your teachings.”


Well, f*ck.

This was very troubling.

At this rate, we’d both starve this winter.


“Rei, let’s limit the number of potatoes you practice with to one a day.”

“But I won’t be able to learn anything at all.
What would I even be doing in the remaining…time.”


A lightbulb flashed over Reia’s head in the middle of her speaking,


“Thinking about that is also a form of training.
I understand it all.”

“Good that you get it.
That’s exactly right.”


Well, all I wanted to do was save what remaining potatoes I had.

I did my best not to cry seeing the tragic ruins of what were once perfectly good potatoes.
I decided to mash the potatoes and make it into a soup.
It wasn’t something I’d eat normally, but there was no sense in wasting precious food.

But, just then, Reia suddenly drew her katana.


“You, what do you mean by this!?”


I wondered if she got tired of her dirt-poor master, still cleaning up the ruined potatoes.
I resigned myself to death.


“Good morning, Takumi.”


Standing at the entrance to the cave was the very same black dragon from yesterday. 


“I did say that ‘I’ll be awaiting your return,’ but it’s only been a day? You are taking Takumi’s mile here.
Do you still not understand even with how much we’ve said already? Or do you think that you became strong after a single night’s sleep.
It doesn’t matter.
Takumi, let’s do her in.”


Let’s not.

More accurately, I couldn’t beat Noiria even if I was fully clad in plot armor with an ability that granted me power from flashbacks and friendship.


“Wait, Rei.
Let’s not have needless violence.”


Noiria’s mood seemed different from yesterday.

She didn’t seem to be overflowing with killing intent but instead with a gentle aura.


“Ah, that’s right, Takumi, I have something to report to you.”


Noiria kneeled on the stone floor.

For some reason, I had a very bad premonition.


“We, as dragons, have pledged our entire race to serve you.
I beg you to lead us as our new king.”


I had no words.

Looking at Reia, she was completely nonplussed, as if this was a matter of course.
She was even nodding along.

I could hear the noise of my peaceful life shattering into a thousand pieces.

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